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The Essential Pillars of Content Marketing: Tips for 2019

The limits of content marketing are stretching with every day that passes by. Since its humble SEO beginnings over 15 years ago, it has transformed into a multimedia, multichannel giant. It seems proponents of the notion that it would be the only kind of marketing one day may turn out to be right.

Being the enormous industry that it is, the trends and tendencies within it are changing faster than most companies can keep track of. Our content marketing tips for 2019 outline the essential pillars of CM in the year to come.

Adopt a Content-First Mindset

In 2019, it will be important NOT to do content the way you’ve always done it. This isn’t to say proven tactics should be tossed out. Rather, content should transcend the boundaries of marketing to influence each and every aspect of brand communications. To achieve this, marketers need a content strategy, which only 37-38% of them have according to data of the Content Marketing Institute.

The confusion stems from what a strategy actually is. Marketers tend to construct their content around mazes rather than workflows. However, advancements in technology make managing production at scale a distinct possibility. These new technologies support a simple and straightforward workflow for various content types, thereby doing away with the need of chasing content across messages, email, spreadsheets, and shared calendars as it is sent back and forth between team members.

Experts’ content marketing tips for 2019 converge on the view that a company can eliminate the information barriers by introducing a central location for communication, where all internal and external team members meet to discuss projects. These are systems like Basecamp, Asana, Trello, and Wrike.

Quality Control

Scorecards, guidelines, and other quality checks should be integrated into content templates to do away with redundant feedback. Without quality checks, marketers are flying blind, throwing content out there in the (often vain) hope someone sees it and converts. Influence over departments outside marketing, like customer service and sales, should also be considered.

The Cost of Lacking Visibility

Lack of visibility can cost you dearly from a content perspective. It will lead to redundancies, which increase exponentially as content extends across the many divisions and regions of an enterprise. Imagine the impact if it’s a multinational one! Without an all-encompassing view of content in progress, marketers can’t identify production roadblocks, process inefficiencies, and unreasonable resource allocation. These losses tend to add up over time, eating away at potential returns.

Taking Processes into Account

There’s more to creating great content than just coming up with a novel idea. That’s just the first step. Someone may be able to make a great suggestion, but not necessarily transform it into an effective piece of content – effective in the sense of generating leads and conversion. It may be that the company needs fresh, new creative talent. The next step is developing a brief, revising, and search optimization. Legal, quality, and brand safety checks follow. Only then can the content be approved. It is a long, thorny road strewn with blocks.

Even a single piece of content can get stuck in limbo for weeks without a clear workflow, not to mention a multichannel campaign. Here, we return to the pressures of scale. Something that is a mild inconvenience in a single marketing channel becomes totally unmanageable on an enterprise scale.

Minimize Losses

According to data of SiriusDecisions, more than two-thirds of content at B2B organizations is not used! Once published, most content is relegated to an obscure corner of the Internet, only to show up after a misdirected Google search now and again. It would be safe to assume that the waste of money and time is staggering regardless of the industry in question. This statistic is not surprising considering that there is now more content online than ever before, and unique content is somewhat of a rarity. Irrespective of this, the potential of all content should be used.

Worst Content Marketing Tips for 2019: Throw Content Away

A company that has been generating content on an enterprise level for even a few months is sitting on unimaginable treasure. This is a trove of unrealized value. Your organization needs to find the value in this content because it is an asset that compounds over time. One way to do this is by “refreshing” old content with current popular search words.

A simple Google search will show you common terms that can then be integrated into old articles for SEO purposes. Of course, this should be done skillfully, of which not every writer is capable, particularly cheap ones. Invest in good writers – this is one of the content marketing tips for 2019 that should not be underestimated under any circumstances.

Don’t let your content die. Marketers need turnkey content activation if their content covers multiple channels and media types. Upon approval, content should be able to go live. A minimum requirement is integration between a website’s content management system and content marketing platform. This does away with the need to switch between platforms, making it possible to publish content as it is approved without having to involve other parties. Content teams should also consider integrations with a digital asset manager to activate content internally and integration with marketing automation tools and social platforms. Every increase of downtime between approval and publication translates to loss of content value.

Personalization

Content marketing tips for 2019, as for 2018 and all recent years in general, have revolved around one-to-one marketing. Unsurprisingly, this is increasing in importance, but so are the requirements surrounding it. It is no longer enough to just insert the first name into the subject line of an email.

The best way to personalize content is by recommending that, which is most likely to create relatively deep engagement. One solution, albeit partial, is making recommendations based on tagging, where the same type of content on the same subject surfaces over and over again. However, the best solutions will be based on content recommendation services like Netflix because these engines learn from a person’s content consumption habits and provide increasingly improving recommendations over time.

Statistics prove the importance of personally relevant branded content. A study by Marketing Insider Group found that 50 percent of respondents were willing to pay a premium for the services or products of a company that delivered such content, while it increased the purchase intent of 78 percent of respondents. The conclusion is clear: companies overlooking personalization are losing money.

Measure Returns on Investment

A survey by Skyword showed that over four-fifths of marketers had metrics in place to evaluate their content performance. Content metrics were almost universal among the top performers. However, this does not seem to apply to measuring ROI. Data from a 2018 Content Marketing Institute study showed that 43 percent of B2C marketers and 47 percent of B2B marketers did not measure ROI. Why? It was either because they didn’t know how, it took too much time, or it was too hard, or any combination of these reasons. This is perplexing – in the very least common sense would tell one they need to know where their money is going and why.

Yet, these are the facts. Content marketers may be rich in data, but poor in insight. Realms of data may be available to them, but when it comes to the big picture, it’s a different story. Why has it come to not seeing the forest for the trees? Because the forest is huge, with trees in multiple locations—data across different media and channels, becoming less and less manageable with each new channel, each new use of content, and each new publishing destination.

There are two obstacles to data consolidation. Marketers need the ability to create dashboards of actionable information and performance snapshots and mechanisms of filtering out the noise. They also need integrations across various marketing technology platforms in order to reach performance metrics from a central hub. Ideally, the former can be customized because the detailed picture a content strategist is looking for is far removed from what the CMO needs a mere peak of. A flexible solution should accommodate the ability to assess the performance of campaigns, individual channels, single content assets, and broad reporting needs.

The Final Step: Going Live

The last step is taking content live, not approving it. Approval doesn’t generate any value in and of itself. Activating content means cooperating with web developers among other teams and working around their other priorities. Until this is done, your content is in purgatory, slowly losing value as it waits to be activated and distributed. A company can implement all the best content marketing tips for 2019, but missing this one can mean the difference between successful and failed content.

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